The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught. Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”
So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place. But many who saw them leaving recognized them and ran on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them. When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.
True refreshment can only be found in Christ. He is the God who offers peace and repose from our fretful, anxious, overworked, overburdened, and over-worried lives. It is no wonder then that our Lord calls out to us with a gracious invitation to rest in Him. He is fully aware of what we so desperately need:
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
Christ is ever aware of our fears and toils, and offers us relief and rest when we are tired. He is our refuge!
“Abandon the worries … and Abide in the Word. Abandon the fears … and Abide in the Father. Abandon the hurts … and Abide in His heart. Abandon the cares … because Christ will never abandon you. It’s what I self-preach again and again to the fearful sinner who is me: Abandon and Abide.” (Ann Voskamp)
“Let the beloved of the LORD rest secure in him, for he shields him all day long, and the one the LORD loves rests between his shoulders.” (Deuteronomy 33:12)
In our verses for today the Apostles had just returned from ministering–and they were tired! Couple that with hearing the recent news of the death of John the Baptist and they were desperate for restoration. Jesus compassionately invites them away for a brief, well-earned rest. Thankfully, the Lord not only allows us time for rest, but reminds us of our need for rest as well. We need to remember that those who work diligently and faithfully also need time to rest.
We are told by King Solomon there is a proper time and duration for everything:
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven. (Ecclesiastes 3:1 )
Jesus invites His disciples to a quiet and solitary place to catch their breath and get some rest so that they may be refueled to carry on His business. He takes them away by boat. When they arrive at their destination, the crowds are already there–having run ahead of them on foot. Jesus’ heart went out to the people. He looked upon them as sheep without a shepherd. Their pursuit and diligence in seeking the Master was duly noted–Jesus never turns those away who willingly seek Him. And so He begins to teach them many things.
Jesus is so kind and compassionate–He is the Good Shepherd who lovingly tends His Own. He provided a respite for His disciples while at the same time meeting the needs of the people who came searching for Him. There is no want with the Shepherd.
Take It to Heart
“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back from captivity.” (Jeremiah 29:13-14)